Despite the destruction and devastation seen across Long Island since Superstorm Sandy, nearly 1,000 area residents poured into Mulcahy's Pub & Concert Hall Thursday evening in support of the Wantagh-based John Theissen Children's Foundation (JTCF).
Thursday's event, the charity's biggest fundraiser of the year, drew support from celebrities like TLC's Long Island Medium star Theresa Caputo, Fox 5 News Anchor Jill Nicolini, Willy Wonka actor Paris Themmen as well as former NFL greats Al Toon and Ottis Anderson.
Anderson, named MVP of Superbowl XXV with the New York Giants, is no stranger to charity, and said he couldn't help but participate when he heard of the work Theissen does for sick and underprivileged children across Long Island.
"He's doing it because he loves it," Anderson said of Theissen. "He wants to make a difference. I think if having someone like me, or Al Toon, or the other celebrities here brings people out for John's foundation, then our job is done."
After finding fame in his 1971 role as Mike Teavee, Themmen has worked his way through the financial world and the production side of show business. Themmen attended Thursday's gala for the second consecutive year, proud to be back and support such a worthy cause.
"He's helping kids who are sick, and that's about the most important thing you could do," Themmen said. "It's great to be here and help out. He deserves it."
Caputo, a Hicksville resident, has worked with the foundation since early 2012, including a psychic benefit at Carlyle on the Green back in August. Before auctioning off a private session for $5,000, Caputo told the crowd how she was honored to be apart of Thursday's event.
"Thank you all for coming and supporting John Theissen's foundation," said Caputo, who was joined by her husband, Larry, on stage. "John really is an amazing man and gives so much to everyone."
For more information on Theissen's work or to make a donation, visit the organization's website. The JTCF is still accepting unwrapped toys at the charity's fun center at 1881 Wantagh Ave. through the holiday season.